Challenging a will can cost you your inheritance

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A recent New South Wales Supreme Court judgment shows just how costly a failed family provision claim can be.

Friend v Brian & Anor [2014] NSWSC 613 involved a claim by an adult daughter against her father’s will. Her father’s estate was worth around $1.3 million comprising a half interest in farming land and a farming partnership worth around $1.3 million and other assets worth $70,000.

The deceased left his interest in the farming land and farming partnership to his son and his other assets to his widow. His widow also benefited from jointly held bank accounts containing around $400,000. The gift to his son was charged with a legacy of $157,500 payable to the deceased’s daughter.

The daughter left home after school and trained as a school teacher and at the time of the hearing was retired on the Central Coast of New South Wales. She and her husband had modest assets and incomes and would have owned their home debt free after the daughter received her legacy in the will. The judgment indicates that the deceased and his daughter had always had a good father daughter relationship.

His Honour rejected the daughters claim and left the deceased’s will untouched. On the issue of costs, which amounted to $150,000, his Honour made an order that the daughter pay the defendant’s costs.

So, after allowing for the costs order the daughter will actually receive very little from her father’s estate.

If you need advice about an Estate matter, contact one of our experienced lawyers on (02) 6212 7600.

Brendan Cockerill is a Business and Succession Lawyer at DDCS Lawyers, 18 Kendall Lane, NewActon, Canberra ACT 2601 and can be contacted on (02) 6212 7600.

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